Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Lina goes (back) to Hollywood

So, several months ago I decided on a whim to attend this year’s Cannes Film Festival. And as fantastical as that may sound to most of us, there are ways and means (the foremost being the requirement to be a jobbing film critic somewhere in the world) and now, finally, after months of planning and countless sleeps of anticipation, I am en route.

Notwithstanding I felt like a change from stopping in S. E. Asia on my cross-the-world trip, it seemed appropriate to take in some of the movie-related sights in Hollywoodland itself.  So I am currently spending a terrific five days in Koreatown (west of Downtown, or WeDo, as only I am amused to be calling it) with some Kiwi friends.

First, though, was the flight up from Auckland. Thanks to the generosity and possible patriotism of AirNZ, I was upgraded to Premium Economy for the first time in a relatively long life of international travel. The Skycouch and excellent food and drink were all the more appreciated given I am not being funded by a media organisation, but am travelling as a civilian. That said, once AirNZ were told of my ultimate destination, they happily set me off with a glass of French champers and the fine choice in inflight entertainment. At last, time to catch up with Mark Wahlberg in Contraband (I know Mark nearly always plays himself, but he does it so well!) and then a shamefully belated introduction to Mike and Rosemary Riddell’s beautiful and touching The Insatiable Moon. It has taken me far too long to catch this locally-made and Ponsonby-based adaptation of Mike’s book, and while not all of the themes sat comfortably with me, I was frequently moved to tears. In daylight! In the aeroplane! The stewardesses feigned not to notice.

Day 1 in sunny LA was a bonus day, since I’d left NZ that night already, and proved fruitful in gastronomic as well as cinephiliac terms. A jaunt up to the Griffith Observatory provided smoggy views across LA, where obligatory photos of the distant Hollywood sign didn’t really come out. There is a bust of James Dean up there, too, something to do with Rebel Without A Cause having been one of the first movies shot around there that represented the Observatory in a good way. A tenuous link, to my mind, but apparently Dean himself commissioned the bust, so who am I to question. But imagine my great geeky excitement as we stood at a crosswalk (see me talk the language!) and I recognised the army surplus store across the road as being from Joel Schumacher’s last decent (well, pretty much) movie – Falling Down! It’s on Sunset Boulevard, and even though that iconic road goes for miles and miles, you imagine you’re getting a whiff of decades of film history just by going there.

Today we visited the diner from the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs but were spared the inevitably lousy diner coffee by dint of its closing two minutes before we got there. Tomorrow is Universal Studios, where I will sadly be unable to tweet my extreme excitement from the new Transformers ride, so will just have to get on with being In The Moment.

LA, I love you.

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